Thanks to everyone who attended our IAC Midwinter Legislative Conference last week. We had great dialogue with Governor Little and legislators. It’s an annual highlight for me and I’m sure you all feel the same. At the conference, we spent considerable time in IAC committees and general sessions immersed in conversations about two important issues: property taxes and public defense reform. While nothing has been formally introduced, we are moving forward in positive ways, in particular on public defense.
On the public defense front, there is movement to scrap the current, county-based public defense delivery model and move to a more regional or statewide approach. Funding has been identified which would relieve counties of any future public defense obligation. We are now working out the mechanics of how the funding will operate, and we hope to have something to share either later this week or early next week. We also hope to have language back from key legislators and the Governor’s Office on how an alternative public defense delivery system is structured. Once we have drafts, they’ll be broadly circulated among the membership.
On the property tax front, we are starting to see movement, but property tax relief legislation is moving more slowly. We anticipate a bill to be introduced this week to move to a five year moving assessed valuation methodology for residential property and real commercial property (there would be no change to the assessment of personal property). It is estimated that such a bill will roll back two years worth of tax shifts. Other measures to provide more direct property tax relief are developing, but as of yet, a clear path has not been identified.
Stay tuned to your email for updates as public defense and property tax relief legislation rolls out in the coming weeks. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.